New Harvard Business Review research highlights importance of collaboration in business

Organizations with innovative IT departments value collaboration

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In the open source community, we know the value of collaboration. It’s at the core of everything we do. Some of us are lucky to work for organizations that understand and embrace the power of collaboration. Yet, the silo mentality runs rampant in many organizations where collaboration and internal crowdsourcing is not valued. ( readers who are pursuing open source projects on the side, but spend their days working at companies with silos are likely very familiar with this).

So it was refreshing to read this new research from Harvard Business Review Analytic Services, which reported that organizations with the most innovative IT departments actually embrace collaboration and seek out new perspectives.

In a recent survey of more than 400 business leaders around the world, researchers found that companies that are deliberately pursuing IT-driven business innovation as a core strategy throughout their organization are “much more likely to take an open approach to innovation through crowdsourcing and encouraging end-user ideas.”

These organizations have used technology to set the business apart, and they’ve done it, in part, by collaborating across functions, hierarchy and traditional corporate boundaries, the research found. The research also found that business leaders are hungry for their CIOs and IT departments to innovate. Many of the leaders surveyed said they want their IT departments to move past “keep the lights on” mode. They want their IT leaders to lead their organizations into a technology-driven future.

This is good news for anyone who already believes in the open source way, but doesn’t necessarily see it in action at their organization. This research shows that some of the organizations that are encouraging collaboration (as well as taking other steps, such as encouraging and rewarding innovation) are transforming their businesses.

If you think your organization can benefit from adopting a more collaborative mindset, then share the report with your colleagues who may need some nudging. You never know, it could be the thing that gets your IT and business leaders on the same page.


About the author

Ginny Hamilton - Ginny Hamilton is community manager for, an online publication and community focused on how CIOs and IT leaders create business value through information technology. A former journalist, Ginny is passionate about local politics, journalism, technology, and social media. Follow her on Twitter for coverage of all those topics along with a healthy mix of cat photos.